RHINO: An auspicious meeting
A CHANCE MEETING IN COPENHAGEN
My good friend Brandon and I landed in Copenhagen just a day or two before Svajerløb, a traditional cargo bike race, was to take place. The first day in Copenhagen I felt fantastic, but that wave I was riding was quickly followed by a brick wall of the worst jet lag I have ever experienced--for days.
I filmed the race as thoroughly as I could, and it was my intention to throw together an edit and put it out on the internet as quickly as possible to announce my arrival in Europe to film my first feature documentary, which is still in production. I was glued to the computer editing at the hostel when Brandon said that the couple who owns RHINO was going to be swinging through and they wanted to meet me.
"I told them you're looking to do some paid video work while you're here to support your trip," Brandon said. It's true that by the time I made it to Europe I barely had any funds. I had known about Rhino since they began and I was eager to meet them.
What I didn't see coming
I feel that most relationships that I have built around the Bullitt are very warm and meaningful, so I knew I would probably get along with Sven and Sabrina, but what I didn't expect was for us to become such close friends so quickly. They were saying they needed a short promo made, and just by how they presented it and the way they spoke I knew we were going to work really well together.
Sven is German and Sabrina is French, and the two of them compliment each other so well with their big giant hearts and their passion for what they are doing and working towards. They asked, "What do we need to do to get you to Berlin?"
NO SLEEP TILL BERLIN
After traveling around Denmark shooting for the documentary (stories I will tell elsewhere), my partner Alexandria joined me in Copenhagen and we made our way to Berlin to meet up with Sven and Sabrina.
We drank espresso and gassy water in a Russian pub for hours exchanging ideas and trying to find a compelling way to connect people to the story and energy of Rhino. This is the kind of process I'm only able to do with businesses and organizations I really connect with. We went really deep really fast and got to know each other very well in the first day or two. What we came up with, story wise, is what you see in this short promo film. It felt a little risky when we were jotting it down but I think everything came together and I think it does expose the audience to the feeling of being with the actual people behind this business, both the owners and the employees.
MY kind of shooting
I love people, and I love watching them do what they are good at. I also love filming small details. Everyone is making films about really big things; I'm fascinated with the smallest things. I find so much expressed in the smallest movements people make, and being in a German manufacturing hall you can witness a kind of precision in those small things that is unparalleled in most parts of the world.
This particular worker was so kind and generous with his presence. I walked in feeling like a bit of an intruder, with my big camera and my cut-off shorts and stupid socks, but this one man was so unaffected by me. He gave a gentle nod and smile every once in a while, but didn't speak a word of English. I take that back, at 11:30 he looked at me and he said "Lunch!" and disappeared for exactly 30 minutes.
What I brought with me from BERlin
I learned a lot from working on this project, both about the craft of storytelling and about the kind of business I am building. It occurred to me in that Russian pub that I was doing exactly what I needed and wanted to be doing in the world at that moment. We were integrating our respective skills with our visions for the future, and it felt like a completely mutual working relationship in a way I haven't experienced before. Working with Alexandria and Sven and Sabrina, a culture developed between us and I think what resulted was a really magical short film that wouldn't be possible without every one of its individual elements.
This is the kind of business relationship I want to cultivate with all of my clients, one that is mutual and an authentic meeting of minds, working towards moving the world forward. In a world where everyone seems to be doing it the other way around, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to do this project, and hope to work with Rhino again as they grow and conquer the cargo box world.